Archive for June, 2011
Thursday, June 30th, 2011
COLUMBIA, SC — South Carolinas labor department is changing the way it inspects the states elevators and amusement rides.
Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Director Catherine Templeton said inspections will no longer be done by the departments inspectors but instead by specially licensed outside contractors.
?Under the current system, only one set of eyes passes over each elevator or amusement ride,? Templeton said. ?We rely on our inspectors to be perfect every time out. With the changes we are making to the program, we will enhance the process with our team of auditors because they will look behind special inspectors to ensure they are on their toes.
This comes in the wake of the childrens train crash in Spartanburgs Cleveland Park last March that killed 6-year-old Benji Easler. Dozens were injured.
The labor department later revealed that one of the agencys inspectors falsified an inspection report on the train one week before the wreck.
Thursday, June 30th, 2011
The main go-cart track in the foreground and a maintenance building at Zoomers in the background sit idle at the never opened family amusement park on Summerlin Road in south Fort Myers. / news-press.com file photo
Thursday, June 30th, 2011
Braden Holloway is coming home. ??
Director of Athletics Deborah
A. Yow announced today that Holloway, a five-time All-America selection
and 2001 graduate of NC State, will take the reigns as head coach of the
Wolfpack swimming and diving program. ?
Braden is a high
energy, focused leader, said Yow. We are truly excited for Braden to
come home and inspire excellence in our athletes while building on the
traditions of the Red Legend Pride. His successes as an athlete and
coach have prepared him to return to State and lead the Pack. I
congratulate Chris Kingston and the search committee for their good
?Holloway returns to Raleigh after seven seasons at
Virginia Tech, having served as associate head coach since 2008. His
tenacity as recruiting coordinator has helped revitalize the Hokies’
program, as his 2009-10 men’s and women’s signing classes were both
nationally ranked by CollegeSwimming.com – a first for the program.
Last year Holloway’s men’s class was ranked for the second year in a
row, standing 20th overall, while the women’s class was ranked 14th.
This year the women’s class has been ranked 13th. The Hokies’ program
has consistently improved under his tutelage, combining to set over 30
new school records, obtaining over 20 All-Americans and over 15 ACC
Champions throughout his tenure.
??This past season the Virginia
Tech men posted a 5-2 record and finished fourth at the ACC
Championships, while the women went 6-3 and placed fifth at ACCs. In
all, the Hokies sent five student-athletes to the NCAA Championships.
am excited and eager to be coming back to Raleigh and to join the
Wolfpack family once again,” stated Holloway. “NC State is a wonderful
school that means so much to both my wife and I. I want to thank
Director of Athletics Deborah Yow and Senior Associate Athletic Director
Chris Kingston for giving me this opportunity to lead such a storied
program into the future. The Wolfpack Swimming and Diving program is one
of the most decorated programs in the country and I am honored to build
on the tradition that has been laid before me.”??
Prior to his
stint at Virginia Tech, Holloway was an assistant coach at The
University of the South from 2003-04. During that time he coached
Matthew Martelli to All-America honors, while seven student-athletes won
individual titles and the team established four school records.
collegiate career at State was illustrious. He lettered with the Pack
from 1998-2001, winning back-to-back ACC titles in the 100 backstroke in
2000-01, collecting all-conference honors during all four years and
setting an ACC record. A five-time All-American, he was ranked
internationally in backstroke events and was an Olympic Trials qualifier
for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary
Team in 2002.??
His swim in the 100 backstroke from 2000 still
stands as the school record, while he owns six more all-time top-10
marks in individual action and is a part of two top-three relay squads.
two-time Academic All-American, Holloway graduated from State in 2001
with a degree in parks, recreation and tourism management, serving as
the commencement speaker for the College of Natural Resources. He
completed his master’s degree in education at Virginia Tech in the
summer of 2007. ??
A native of Baton Rouge, La., Holloway is
married to former State swimmer Mary Mittendorf, who still holds four
all-time top-10 marks in the Wolfpack record book. The Holloway’s have
three children, daughter Blythe Marie, son Ethan Robert and daughter
Thursday, June 30th, 2011
This was not the first time such a prediction about the end times has been made. The very same Harold Camping of Family Radio made a similar prediction in 1994, and who could forget Edgar C. Whisenants 88 Reasons why the Rapture is in 1988? Doomsayers have been imminent in their predictions for centuries. In fact, the dogma of the Jehovahs Witnesses still maintains that Christ returned to the Earth in 1914. There must be something cyclical about our culture that end-time concerns are recurrent, coming in waves. But only recently can we directly observe these trends in real time. Living in the early 21st century grants us the rare privilege of directly observing memetic waves in human culture even as they continue to evolve and emerge.
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
By Debbie Juniewicz,
Updated 9:25 PM Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Laughter and excited screams echo through the park as each ride looks taller
and faster than the last.
So, what could a toddler or preschooler and their family possibly find to do
at an amusement park? The answer might surprise you.
Ohio amusement parks Kings Island in Mason and Cedar Point in Sandusky, have
as many or more attractions for the younger set than they do for the
thrill-seekers. Kings Island has been tapped by Amusement Today as having
the Best Kids Area for 10 consecutive years and Cedar Point, which boasts
17 roller coasters and the title of Best Amusement Park in the World, has
four areas designated for young children with 32 rides geared to the parks
With all of the rides, shows and attractions we have, families with young
children can play for a full day, said Don Helbig, Kings Island public
relations area manager.
But a day at the amusement park can be more stressful than fun if parents are
unprepared. Advance planning and strategy, however, can make the day
enjoyable for the entire family.
What to expect
Rides: Old-school kiddie rides were pretty much the same plop your child
onto a miniature car or motorcycle and they would ride around in circles for
a few minutes with horns beeping and lights flashing.
Not any more. While traditional childrens rides are still a part of the
amusement park experience, newer rides allow mom, dad, big brother or, even,
grandma to ride side-by-side with the littlest park guests.
Climb on to Linus Launcher at Kings Islands Planet Snoopy and fly around
face down or take flight at Cedar Points Camp Snoopy on the Balloon Race
ride. Both parks have a variety of rides designed for parents and their
children to ride together.
Entertainment: Its not just about the rides. Kings Islands show schedule
includes several kid-friendly performances including Charlie Browns Pirate
Adventure and the Peanuts Party in the Plaza. Cedar Point has the All
Wheels Extreme show, with skateboarders and in-line skaters. Both parks
have Snoopy-themed ice shows, perfect for taking a break in a cool
comfortable theater, and offer character meet-and-greet opportunities.
New this year at Kings Island is Dinosaurs Alive! The interactive attraction,
which has a $5 additional charge, lets pint-sized paleontologists see more
than 60 life-sized dinosaurs and even search for bones at the kids dig site.
Parents can take a shady break on a nearby bench while their curious kids
Fireworks or pyrotechnics can be the finale for the familys day of fun.
Dining: Traditional park fare, like french fries, pizza and soda, is still
available but so too are healthier choices like fresh fruit, yogurt and
grilled chicken wraps.
We have really diversified our offerings, said Bryan Edwards, Cedar Point
sales promotions manager. And some of those changes came as a result of
feedback from moms.
And if the heat is getting to you, both parks also offer free cups of water at
concession stands throughout the park.
Convenience: Both parks have family care centers with changing stations,
bottle warmers and quiet areas to feed babies in a private atmosphere. There
are also first-aid stations and family restrooms.
Helbig suggests parents make guest services their first stop.
There they can pick up Kidtrack wristbands for the family and a Parent Swap
form. Near Kings Island front gate is a measuring station where children can
receive a wristband so they know what attractions they can ride without
having to be measured every time.
Tips for tackling the park with toddlers or preschoolers in tow
Sales promotions manager Bryan Edwards knows firsthand what it takes to have a
fun family day at the park and not just because he has worked at Cedar Point
for the past 20 years. Edwards is the father of three children 6 and
younger. His advice:
- Wear sunscreen. You dont realize how much sun you are exposed to when
at the park. And not just the kids, make sure mom and dad lotion up as
- Bring along sippy cups or water bottles. The kids will run around the park all
day, they need something to drink. Cedar Point and Kings Island offer
all guests free cups of water upon request. The cups are perfect for
refilling sippy cups.
- KidTrack. This is especially important if you have some older kids that like
to run off without you. Parents can get a wristband for the kids for
free at the park at Guest Services. On the inside of the wristband,
parents can write their cell phone number. If the kids get lost,
employees have been trained to look for the wristband and call the
- Parent Swap. This is great if mom and dad want to ride coasters. Again, you
can get a free Parent Swap form at Guest Services, which basically
allows one parent to wait in line for a coaster. The other parent and
kids can go play or grab a bite to eat. After the first parent rides the
coaster, he or she will go down the exit, take the kids from the other
parent, and the other parent walks up the exit ramp and gets right on
the ride. So both parents can ride, and the best part is the kids dont
have to wait in line for something they cant ride.
- Go online and see what rides your kids can ride ahead of time. All rides have
height requirements or restrictions on who can and cant ride.
Theres nothing worse than talking up a ride to your kid, then
finding out when they are standing in line that they might be too short
to safely ride.
- Bring a wagon or stroller. Those little legs are going to do a lot of walking.
If the kids can ride from kids area to kids area, they wont
tire as easily and wont be a bear later in the day.
- Come to the park when it is less busy. Weekdays in early summer are less
crowded. Friday nights in September and October are also perfect times
to come to the park.
- Divide and conquer. If you have multiple kids, you want to split up the group
to ride as many rides as possible. The kids dont want to sit and
watch their older brother and sister ride something they cant.
- Find family rides. There is nothing better than riding a ride with your kids.
Find those rides that mom and dad can ride with the kids. Seeing the
excitement and smiles on your kids faces is priceless.
- Dont force. If your kids really dont want to ride something, dont
make them. They are more apt to want to go on their own than to ride a
ride that mom and dad forced them on.
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
Brazil: Key Economic Trends during and since the Recession
by Rebecca Ray
Brazils first quarter GDP shows continued expansion, driven by manufacturing and private consumption. The economy grew at an annualized rate of 5.4 percent in the first quarter, and over the last four quarters it has grown 4.2 percent. The two sectors that have had the strongest recovery since the recession, minerals extraction and finance, both lost some ground in the most recent quarter, but both have still far outpaced other sectors since the recession in late 2008. Meanwhile, the sector with the slowest growth since the recession, manufacturing, saw its strongest quarter in a year and reached its pre-recession level.
During the world financial crisis and recession, Brazil lost 6 percent of GDP in just two quarters: the last quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, which saw annualized growth of -15.7 and -7.4 percent, respectively. However, it recovered very rapidly: the next four quarters saw annualized growth rates of 7.6, 10.8, 10.2, and 8.9 percent, respectively. Growth slowed to an annualized rate of 1.8 percent in the third quarter of 2010 but has since regained momentum. Annualized quarterly growth rose to 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter and 5.4 percent in the first quarter of 2011.
The Industry and Service Sectors
The recovery has been heavily concentrated in the service sector, in which the downturn and recovery to pre-recession levels lasted only four quarters. In the fourth quarter of 2008 the sector lost 2.6 percent of its pre-recession peak, but by the third quarter of 2009 it had regained this ground. In the first quarter of 2011, it grew at an annualized rate of 4.3 percent and has grown 4.0 percent in the last four quarters. It has now reached 8.5 percent above its pre-recession peak level. Industry has not fared as well: it shrank by 12.3 percent during the recession, during two quarters, and took four additional quarters of growth to regain its pre-recession levels. In the most recent quarter, it grew at an annualized rate of 8.9 percent, more than twice the growth recorded in the services sector, but over the last four quarters it has grown at a more modest 3.5 percent and is still only 2.4 percent above its 2008 levels.
The Service Sector
Within the service sector, financial intermediation and insurance has risen at a much faster pace than any other major area. The first quarter of 2011 saw this progress falter for the first time since the recession: it shrank at an annualized rate of 1.6 percent per year, but it is still 19.3 percent above its pre-recession levels. Over the last four quarters, it has grown 6.4 percent, and since the 2008 peak it has grown at an average rate of 7.3 percent per year. This is more than twice the growth in the overall services sector, and GDP as a whole, which have grown at average annual rates of 3.3 and 2.8 percent per year, respectively, since the 2008 peak.
The next best-performing area of the service sector has been commerce. It lost 10.6 percent of its output during the recession, more than any other area of services, but it has since recovered to 8.6 percent above its pre-recession peak, about the same level as the services sector overall. The other two major areas of the service sector, real estate and public administration, saw smaller declines during the recession and less growth thereafter. Real estate saw only one quarter of decline during the recession, in which it shrank by just 1.5 percent. Since then it has seen modest growth: it grew at an annualized rate of just 1.0 percent in the first quarter of 2011 and has grown 1.9 percent over the last four quarters. It is currently 3.9 percent above its pre-recession level. (Note that this is measured in real, inflation-adjusted terms, so the large price increases in residential real estate do not show up here.) Public administration is the only major services area that saw no decline during the recession and instead saw continued growth until 2010, when it briefly faltered (shrinking at an annualized rate of 1.5 percent in the first quarter), and continued growing. It has grown 2.8 percent over the last four quarters and grew at an annualized rate of 3.5 percent in the first quarter of 2011.
The Industrial Sector
Like the service sector, the industrial sector has one area growing much more quickly than the rest: in this case, mineral extraction. It shrank less during the recession (6.8 percent), and for a shorter time (only one quarter), than any other industry. While other industries saw their recovery stagnate in 2010, mineral extraction had three very strong quarters of growth that year, growing at an annualized rate of 38.9, 15.5, and 8.6 percent in each of the first three quarters, respectively. The last quarter of 2010 was essentially flat (it shrank at an annualized rate of 0.2 percent), and the first quarter of 2011 brought a more significant decline (at an annualized rate of 5.9 percent). Nonetheless mineral extraction, currently at 12.0 percent above its pre-recession peak, has greatly outperformed the rest of the industrial sector and is the only industry to outperform the economy as a whole.
The worst-performing industry has been manufacturing, which finally recovered its pre-recession level in the first quarter of 2011. It lost 16.9 percent of its output during the recession and, like every other industry except mineral extraction, saw its recovery stagnate again in 2010. However, the first quarter of 2011 saw strong growth (11.6 percent annualized), bringing up its growth over the last four quarters to 2.4 percent.
Of the other two industries, construction has fared worse than public utilities, but both have performed worse than the overall economy. They lost 14.1 and 7.1 percent of their pre-recession activity, respectively, during the recession. After a year of recovery, both saw their progress come to a halt in mid-2010, when construction shrank again at an annualized rate of 9.0 percent and public utilities were essentially flat, with 0.1 percent annualized growth. Both sectors resumed growth, though, and are now 4.0 and 5.6 percent above their respective pre-recession peaks. Over the last four quarters, they have grown 5.2 and 4.9 percent, respectively.
GDP by Expense
The three main domestic expense categories, private consumption, government consumption, and investment, have had three very different trajectories. Private consumption suffered only lightly in the recession and has rebounded strongly. Public consumption shrank by a similar amount during the recession but has recovered much more slowly. Gross fixed capital formation fell severely during the downturn but also made a rapid recovery thereafter.
Private and public consumption both fell for just one quarter during the downturn, by 1.9 and 3.4 percent respectively. Public consumption regained this ground within one quarter of recovery, and private consumption followed one quarter thereafter. Since that point, however, private spending has grown twice as quickly as public spending: an average of 6.5 percent per year compared to 3.2 percent. The data from the most recent quarter appears to buck this trend, with public spending growing at an annualized rate of 3.4 percent, compared to 2.6 percent for private consumption. Still, private consumption has grown to 13.7 percent above its pre-recession peak, and public consumption has only reached 5.8 percent above its own peak. Gross fixed capital formation shrank by almost one quarter (23.8 percent) from the third quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009. Since that trough, however, it has grown at an average rate of over 18 percent per year, recovering to its pre-recession level by the second quarter of 2010. Its growth has slowed some in recent quarters, and in the first quarter of 2011 it grew at an annualized rate of 4.9 percent per year, but over the last four quarters it has still grown by 8.8 percent.
Meanwhile, the trade deficit continues to grow. Imports fell in the first quarter of 2011, at an annualized rate of 6.3 percent, but exports fell by nearly twice as much: an annualized rate of 12.2 percent. Exports only reached their pre-recession levels in the fourth quarter of 2010, but with the negative growth so far in 2011, they have dropped back down to 0.7 percent below their 2008 levels. Imports, which shrank by roughly a quarter (24.9 percent) during the recession, regained their pre-recession levels by the first quarter of 2010 and reached 20.9 percent above those levels by the end of 2010. The first quarter of 2011 saw them decline again, but they are still at 18.9 percent above their pre-recession peak.
This is the first time in more than 10 years that Brazil has seen sustained trade deficits, although they are modest, at 0.7 percent of GDP for the first quarter of 2011. This is down from the first quarter of 2010, when it was 1.1 percent of GDP.
Exports fell from 15.9 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 9.8 percent one year later, their lowest level since 2000. They recovered to 11.4 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2010 and 11.2 percent in the latest quarter. Imports also fell during 2009, but not as far: from 15.7 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 10.5 percent one year later. They rebounded to 12.9 percent by the third quarter of 2010, but have since slipped to 11.9 percent.
Overall, the sustained trade deficit and the relatively weak performance of manufacturing as well as the industrial sector (outside of mineral extraction) is very likely the result of the appreciation of the Brazilian real over the last several years. In real terms, the currency remains at levels comparable to those under the Real Plan, before the devaluation of 1998. We can expect these trends in manufacturing, the industrial sector, and the trade deficit to continue so long as currency remains at these high levels or appreciates further.
Rebecca Ray is a Research Associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC This article was first published by CEPR on 27 June 2011 under a Creative Commons license.
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
WINDHOEK – The German Pentathlon Federation in conjunction with the German government is to assist Namibia with the establishment of a fully-fledged National Federation for modern Pentathlon.
The President of the Union Internationale De Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) Dr Klaus Schormann, is currently in Namibia for thorough discussions with the National Sports Commission (NSC) and National Olympic Commission (NNOC), including all stakeholders in the multi-sport entity consisting of five disciplines, namely Cross Country, Fencing, Pistol Shooting, Show Jumping and Swimming.
The 62-year old Schormann has been at helm of the world acclaimed federation since 1993 and was recently re-elected for the plum position last November to lead the global organization for the next four years until 2012.
Talks with the targeted disciplines had already started last year and though there are still a few rough edges that need to be polished, Schormann is confident a deal will be struck soon.
We would also like to introduce several other special projects in Namibia, aimed at developing youth sport from age 16 to 21. We will request the Namibian Sports Commission to submit their needs so that we can put our shoulder to the wheel and release the funds for these particular projects without further delay,Ã?Â said Schormann.
Schormann could not be drawn into revealing figures, but the German national did manage to drop a hint that there are indeed huge amounts of Euros involved in these Special Projects.
Meanwhile, the German Basketball Federation in collaboration with the German government has undertaken to set up a three-year project in Namibia, in an effort to uplift the standard of Basketball locally.
The ultimate aim is to set up standardized structures in place such as training facilities, avail modern equipment and assist with organization. We hope to kick-start this venture by September this year. Currently, there is a football project under the tutorship of Klaus Staerke and we hope to introduce a short-term track and field project before end of this year.Ã?Â
Pressed as to why Namibia was chosen ahead of other sporting nations from the Southern African Region – Schormann said Namibia is a well-developed country and possessed the required capacity to manage such projects.
We also want to maintain our tradition with our sister country – and what also simplified the decision is that the five disciplines required for Pentathlon are fully fledged codes here in Namibia. Above all, there is an urgent need in developed countries to combine sport with tourism, and its our sincere hope that the introduction of Pentathlon will offer Namibia the ideal opportunity to maximize its full potential.Ã?Â
Should the envisaged move go through, Namibia would join 11 other countries on the African continent practising and competing in the multi-sport event with South Africa, and Swaziland the other members despite the fact that Pentathlon in Swaziland is virtually non-existent.
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Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
HUDSON, WIJune 28, 2011The online color copying and printing company Docucopies.com has launched a sweepstakes designed to engage its current and prospective customers through social media. The winner will receive a brand-new, eight-gigabyte iPod Touch, a popular model from Apples iconic line of MP3 players.
This is the first step in a campaign the company is undertaking to expand its social circle, including networking on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Marketing Director Jeff Corbo sees social networking as a crucial element in the new frontier of online marketing, as do many others in the field. The social revolution is changing the way companies market themselves, says Corbo. Offering your clients something of actual value through social channels, instead of just self-promotion and marketing gimmicks, engages them with your brand in ways that werent possible five years ago.
As part of this push, Docucopies is now using social media to inform, entertain and assist its customers. Content will include topics such as layout and design tips, marketing tips, product comparisons, deal hunting and social networking and marketing, as well as links to third-party articles.
The rules and directions for entering the sweepstakes can be found on the companys website. A winner will be chosen randomly from the companys social circle on Friday, July 29.
For more information on the iPod Giveaway Sweepstakes, visit Docucopies online.
Monday, June 27th, 2011
Nicole Evans checks medicated cats for ticks and infection, then cleans each one after their spay and neuter surgeries at Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County. Expanded spay and neuter programs are credited with helping reduce the number of animals killed in county shelters.
JOHN BURGESS/The Press Democrat